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Struggle for Economic Equality and Social Emancipation

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Economic Justice - Thematic Focus Group

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Summary of activity

This pandemic has brought forth the precarious economic situations where people are more exposed to the financial shocks leaving them to face severe health conditions, lack of basic amenities like food, water, housing and lack of resources etc. For it will be the vulnerable population in the society who will be disproportionately affected by these economic shocks. The pandemic has highlighted uneven distribution of opportunities and resources and many challenges has arises for the disadvantageous and marginalized groups including women. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every country and every international bodies and institutions to have the financial commitment earmarked especially for those who are in need and at the risk. It is important to promote universal access to resources and basic services to have a greater resilience for the future crisis. This universality should be comprehensive and non-discriminatory in nature. It is imperative to put more resources on the socio-economic programmes in order to address the rising poverty and inequality. It is important to reshape the economy post-pandemic which is only possible by promoting the inclusive and innovative economic approach. Besides, there is a need for fiscal support focusing on the issue of inequality and discrimination. The policy response towards the crisis should be equitable and affordable to all.

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Description of activity

Asia Pacific Social Forum (18-20 February 2022)

Date: 18 Feb 2022

Time – 12.30- 14.00 Bangkok, 13.30 – 15.00 Manila, 11.00 – 12.30 New Delhi

Economic Justice -Thematic Panel

 

The COVID-19 crisis has made the need for a comprehensive and universal social protection system crystal clear. People need health care, obviously, but also clean water and clean air, decent housing, child care, jobs and income security.

All these necessary measures may seem to be expensive, but they are perfectly affordable when public expenditures are better planned with the priority to take care of people’s needs.

While these needs are the same all over the world, for all people, they can be met in many different ways, according to historic, economic, social and cultural circumstances. Universal systems do not mean they are exactly the same everywhere, they mean that taking into account our diversity, they do cover everyone. Our rights are universal, our protection systems take into account our diversity and our different needs.

That is why there are many different ways to give people income security and there are different ways to organize this. The economic justice thematic process of WSF-AP process thought it was useful to give an overview of different possibilities that people and governments can choose from. Everywhere, especially during this crisis, people are fighting for their survival, having lost their jobs or their livelihoods.

This pandemic has brought forth the precarious economic situations where people are more exposed to the financial shocks leaving them to face severe health conditions, lack of basic amenities like food, water, housing and lack of resources etc. For it will be the vulnerable population in the society who will be disproportionately affected by these economic shocks. The pandemic has highlighted uneven distribution of opportunities and resources and many challenges has arises for the disadvantageous and marginalized groups including women. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every country and every international bodies and institutions to have the financial commitment earmarked especially for those who are in need and at the risk. It is important to promote universal access to resources and basic services to have a greater resilience for the future crisis. This universality should be comprehensive and non-discriminatory in nature. It is imperative to put more resources on the socio-economic programmes in order to address the rising poverty and inequality. It is important to reshape the economy post pandemic which is only possible by promoting the inclusive and innovative economic approach. Besides, there is a need for fiscal support focusing on the issue of inequality and discrimination. The policy response towards the crisis should be equitable and affordable to all.

We do emphasize that income security, implementation of the social protection floor set by ILO(R-202), right to employment etc are a necessary part of a social protection system. Poverty is in the very first place an income deficit, but money can never solve each and every problem, for the simple reason that many of our services are better organized collectively. A good social protection system will have public services in the background, with health care, water and electricity, transport, education, communication … Also, jobs in a regulated labour market can be an excellent way to provide people with the necessary means for a decent life with dignity.

Sustainable financing of national, comprehensive and broadly supported social protection policies requires resources. Sustainable financing also means that governments mobilise the public funding and allocate it to social protection. Lots of research demonstrates that it is economically feasible in the vast majority of countries, and that there are a range of options at governments’ disposal to create fiscal space for comprehensive social protection systems. Financing social protection is, therefore, foremost a matter of political will. Universal social protection systems can best be achieved through a mix of different financing methods, mixing contributory and non-contributory schemes. There are several ways to mobilise the necessary resources, which include increasing progressive forms of taxation, tackling tax evasion and illicit financial flows and expanding social insurance coverage and contributory revenues.

The problem is that once again, after decades of ‘Washington Consensus’ and austerity policies, governments are now preparing new programmes for fiscal discipline that may lead us to a renewed ‘Washington Consensus’ with all its perverse social consequences. It should be made very clear that there are financial resources available if the political willingness to find them is there: through wealth taxes, debt solutions, fighting tax havens, lowering military expenditures, etc.

What we want to make clear in this panel is that people are fighting, everywhere, for themselves and their families, for their human right to a decent life with dignity being respected. Beside this, a wider movement for fighting universal social protection rights came together as part of the social forum process and launched a global charter. The charter will seek solidarity from across the movement's spectrum and create a strong buzz in Mexico and beyond.

Speakers:

Ms. Maris dela Cruz, Coordinator Network for Transformative Social Protection, Philippines

Ms. Francis Kim from ITUC AP Director, Economic and Social Policy, South Korea

Mr. Cunha Nuno Meira Simoes, Senior Technical Specialist on Social Protection, ILO Thailand

Mr. Antero B da Silva- Director Peace Centre, East Timor

Mr. Eduardo C Tadem- Centre for Integrative Studies, Philippines

Mr. Nabin Mahajan, SPCSN Nepal

Moderators: Mr. Bismo Sanyato, Inspire Indonesia and Mr. Chandan Kumar Working Peoples’ Coalition India

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